The 2011 Aussie Millions Poker Championship kicks off this evening with the opening event of what is the biggest and most prestigious tournaments series in the country. A bumper field is expected for the $1,100 Opening Event as the three-week poker carnival gets underway.
In honour of the big event, the PokerNetwork crew, who will be hard at work during the series bringing you live updates on both PokerNetwork and PokerNews, decided to get together and do a roundtable preview of their expectations for the upcoming series.
Which event are you most looking forward to on the schedule and why?
LandoCalrisian: I'm really looking forward to the $5300 PLO and the $10,500 8-Game Mixed Event. As a reporter, it's always refreshing to cover something other than NLHE and I'm looking forward to the challenge. The $2200 six-handed event will also be interesting to watch!
Duffman: There are always two events I look forward to on the schedule. The Main Event because it’s the pinnacle of Australian poker for the year and the Heads Up Championship. The last three years I’ve been lucky enough to report on the Heads Up event and while it can be a grind, it is also the most interesting of tournaments on the schedule. The meta-games between the players and the varying heads up styles make for some fascinating poker.
TassieDevil: The High Stakes Cash Game is always my favourite “event”. Hopefully it gets up again this year with some big names and we see some huge pots!
thkcduckworth: Without doubt it is the $100,000 Challenge where some of the best players in the world have a chance to battle it out in the biggest tournament the world has to offer. It only slightly bests the Poker Pro events!
Is there a player you are most looking forward to reporting on and why?
thkcduckworth: I’ve always enjoyed reporting on players like Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu because they provide action and table banter that I not only find enjoyable to watch, but also find enjoyable to write about. Unfortunately I doubt either of them will be there, so I’ll have to go with Australian versions such as David Saab, Ali Khalil and Tony Hachem.
Procession: Being the 'new kid on the block' and having not reported on an event of this status, I have to go with all the clichés - Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan and all the other Full Tilt Pros. In saying that, I am a big fan of the young 'DeucesCracked' team and look forward to reporting on Jay Rosenkrantz and those lads.
Viva81: I’ve been a big fan of Dan Shak ever since he bought a few bottles of Veuve and ordered the entire room service menu for our staff after-party at Crown Towers. I'm never dazzled by celebrity, but playing a $0.25/$0.50 home game with Shak after he had won the 100K Challenge was pretty sweet.
Name a player that you think will have a breakout year at the AM and why?
LandoCalrisian: I think Tom Grigg will continue on his form from 2010 and pick up a few cashes and a deep run in the Main Event. Whether he'll be able to finally score that breakthrough victory will be up to him, but I think he'll definitely get a title this year - if not at the Aussie Millions, then certainly elsewhere.
Procession: I think Roman Priplotski could have a breakout year. Has already proved himself quite the player at 18 years of age, winning a WCOOP bracelet as ROMES_HOME, then taking 2nd in the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Main Event. If he plays a lot of events, the young Adelaide kid could prove himself a dominating force.
TassieDevil: Brendon Rubie. He's proven himself in Australia as our number one online player, so now I expect him to shine on an International stage.
Who will be the last female standing in the Main Event?
Viva81: Last year it was Annette Obrestad who went all the way to the final table after picking up some Aussie Millions bling in a side event along the way. Jackie Glazier has been working hard all year with some impressive results and just fell short of the money in the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event. But I'm going have to go with the rock-chick Liv Boeree.
thkcduckworth: Since I’m unsure of what overseas females will be in attendance, I’m going to have to go with Jackie Glazier as being the last female standing. Silver medal goes to Ange Italiano who hopefully can make a deep run to top off a great career on the felt.
LandoCalrisian: Vanessa Selbst. If not, Annette Obrestad - again. The last Aussie female standing will be Jackie Glazier.
Procession: Would be great to see an Aussie lady like Amanda De Cesare be the last female standing but it’s hard to go past someone like Annette Obrestad who has already proven herself on Aussie soil. I personally think Maria Ho could also have a good run at this year’s Aussie Millions.
Duffman: Jai Kemp?
Which overseas player will win an Aussie Millions gold ring?
Viva81: Phil Ivey will be gunning after Daniel Negreanu, having just lost the mantle of all-time tournament money earners.
thkcduckworth: I’m hoping someone like JC Tran or Nam Le can snatch an Aussie Millions gold ring. They’ve been here the previous few years, and they are both quality players with fantastic records. In reality though, any overseas player that makes their way down here normally does fairly well here – Hansen, Kostritsyn, Mizzi, Obrestad . . . and plenty more before them.
TassieDevil: Probably a random, unknown, teenage Scandinavian.
How many entrants for the Main Event?
thkcduckworth: Following 746-entrants last year, and satellites – both live and online – providing good numbers, I think we can definitely aim for the 800-plus field. We may fall short, but anything over the previous year’s number will be a success.
Procession: I am going to go with around 710. With some PokerStars events happening in January and with the general poker landscape how it is I think it will be just down on last year, but hopefully I will be proven wrong.
LandoCalrisian: To be honest, we'd be lucky to get more than 700. Given the parity of the Aussie dollar with the US, as well as being scheduled so close to the PCA, we'll probably see far less International players making the trip to Melbourne than last year. That doesn't mean the quality of the field will diminish - in fact, we could see one of the best fields ever assembled in Australia.
Duffman: This one is always a tough question and I’ve lost more than a few prop bets on the numbers. At a complete guess I’m going to say around the same numbers as last year, so in the 730-750 range.
Viva81: I’ll go with 777. The strong Aussie dollar will attract some big guns and shifting the dates back a little will mean a couple more from the PCA can hop from the Bahamas straight into the Aussie summer.
TassieDevil: Numbers were down in almost every major event in Australasia during the year with so many events on the schedule now. If they get close to last year’s number it will be impressive, but I can’t see it happening. I’ll go with 680.
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